Local and delicious foodstuffs

September 5, 2007

Since moving to the greater St. Louis area, we have been doing our best to feel at home, starting with the unique foods and drink that the region has to offer.

Number one on my list of good St. Louis food is an appetizer called “toasted ravioli.” You take a beef ravioli, bread it, fry it, sprinkle parmesan cheese on it, dip it in marinara sauce, and eat. I like ravioli anyway, but this is really good.

Next on my list is a cheap cut of meat called the “pork steak.” It’s like a big, yummy pork chop, but always prepared on the barbecue with lots of sweet, tomato-based, barbecue sauce. There’s a place about a mile from our house called “Big Mama’s BBQ” where the pork steak is so big, you absolutely must take at least half of it home for lunch the next day. I’ve made it very successfully at home on a low fire grill with lots of basting. I normally grill very hot on a fast grill and only baste at the end, if at all. But low heat and lots of sauce is the way to go with pork steak.

Finally, a Belleville, Illinois, original. We live in Belleville, the birthplace of a special beverage called “Stag” beer. It’s an American lager, light and full of rice, but also a little sweeter and fuller than those other American brews. With virtually no finish, it is a great beer for drinking when you are hot and thirsty. No longer brewed in its hometown, Stag is now owned by Pabst up in Wisconsin.

Not a bad way to get acquainted with a new place!

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6 Responses to “Local and delicious foodstuffs”

  1. Little Mary Says:

    i am not surprised you like the toasted ravioli. it is kind of sad that all we have to speak of is that and really saucy cheap meat.

  2. Cathy Says:

    That does it. I just read a blog that featured Asian chicken and rice served at a fair. Someone else photographed their grape jelly bubbling away on the stove – now this.

    I’m headed for the fridge.

  3. sheepdays Says:

    LM–it’s not sad at all, it’s delicious!
    Mmmm, Cathy, all that sounds good, too.

  4. Bill Says:

    The pork steak is a somehow a fitting memorial of the once vast stockyards of east St. Louis.

    On “The Hill” check out Volpi salami (the Genoa is available at Schnucks) and the “Missouri Bakery”. Oh, and milkshake at Crown Candy in North St. Louis, and Ted Drewes frozen custard, if you can handle a lot of sweetness (order the “Terramizzou”!). I’m racking my brain here, but I recall that Columbia, IL, to your south is, or used to be some kind of horseradish capitol.

    Make sure to see NORTH St. Louis sometime, MLK boulevard, and enjoy KDHX FM 88.1

    Fun to hear about St. Louis, though I don’t know much about Belleville. It should be a pleasure for you to become acquainted with St. Louis! And there’s Chicago to the north, Springfield with its acclaimed new Lincoln museum, the Ozarks to the south with their spring fed float streams.

    St. Louis does scrabble rather pitifully searching for some self recognition of culinary originality, and when it does find a dish on which to make claims, they tend to be a bit unsavory. I guess you call that character. I’ve had one, and I can’t really recommend the St. Pauli sandwich, but check this out:
    http://www.saucemagazine.com/article/1/127
    The Courtesy Diner gets a mention and they do serve a good tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich.

  5. sheepdays Says:

    Hi Bill, you’re comment didn’t come into my email for some reason and so I’m just seeing it now. Thanks for all the good suggestions. I’ve had the Ted Drewes–very good and right up my alley. I’ll definitely get over to Crown Candy soon. KDHX has been awesome, as well. We moved here from Phoenix, AZ, a larger metro area that has nothing to compare to this great radio station.

    The salumerias of the Hill look like places to which I will need to make frequent pilgrimages. I will say here that I will try anything, including the St. Pauli, but it sounds kind of yucky.

    One other place you didn’t mention that I went to check out soon is a pretzel place–I think it’s called Joe’s Pretzels.

    Anyway, welcome to Sheep Days. I hope you’ll return.

  6. Bill Says:

    Phoenix got bigger than St. Louis. Huh! Guess I haven’t been paying attention. Glad you didn’t mind my boosterish comment. I really do miss St. Louis and its culture. I wonder if you are thinking of “Gus’s Pretzels” on Arsenal at Lemp, in the shadow of Anheuser-Busch which famously offers free beer at the end of the tour!

    I look forward to reading your accounts of future sheep days in what, for me, may occasionally be recognizable settings. I’ll check here with interest to learn what’s goin’ on, and what affairs, concerns and phenomena your own particular affinities have brought to light.

    “Salumeria”. Cool word! Down on Cherokee you will find chorizo!–whoops! There I go again.


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